The Greenwood car show in Seattle is a yearly event that's put together by a local car club and volunteers. Admission is free and all car show entry fee proceeds go to local charities. A mile and a half of the main drag of Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood is closed by the city and filled with all kinds of cars, food vendors, live music, and community service booths. The road is also lined with all the local businesses which include restaurants, cafes, bars, and antiques stores. It really felt more like an all-ages block party than a car show. When was the last time you’ve gone to a car show that wasn’t just a big gathering of like-minded car nerds? Greenwood is a community car show in the truest sense, with people from all walks of life and a huge variety of interests and backgrounds coming through the neighborhood to check out an ecclectic bunch of cars. Check out my gallery of pics from the event!
While spending some time with the Honda CR-Z recently I noticed the "game’"you could play where you can grow more leaves on some little trees in the dash if you drive the CR-Z economically. Thing is, that’s pretty boring so I just left it in Sport mode most of the time and had fun.
It got me thinking, though: If the game was more interesting, could this encourage more efficiency-minded driving? As you can see in the video below I came up with the idea of a polar bear on an iceberg. Put your foot down and poor Mr Bear is going for a swim. You know, similar to those pens featuring a girl in a bikini that you turn upside-down. See where I'm going with this? Hit the jump to see my CR-Z video review.More »
If the idea of an electric RAV4 seems familiar, that's probably because it is: Toyota produced a RAV4 EV between 1997 and 2003, and leased them in very small numbers primarily as government fleet vehicles. Only a few hundred of those original RAV4 EV's survive, though there was a pretty substantial waiting list for the vehicles at the time Toyota ceased production. Now all those hopefuls may finally have their chance to get their hands on one, as Toyota unveiled the production version of the second-generation RAV4 EV yesterday at the Electriv Vehicle Symposium in LA. This time around, it boasts a Tesla-designed drivetrain and puts out the equivalent of 154hp, taking it from 0-60 in 7 seconds in its less-efficient "Sport" mode. Toyota claims it'll get a full 100 miles of range and recharge in 6 hours (though it seems that's what they always say). Oh, and it'll cost $50,000. A cute electric SUV is a nice idea and everything, but for actual utility I think I'd put my money on the Ford Transit Connect Electric. More at Carscoop.
The Swedish Viking Speed Records Team led by racing driver Boije Ovebrink set two land speed racing world records at the Historic Wendover Airfield in Utah, (just a few minutes away from the famous Bonneville Salt Flats) on April 27, 2012.
Ovebrink piloted the Volvo Hybrid Semi Truck "Mean Green" to an average speed of 236.577 km/h (147.002 mph) through the Flying Kilometer (2/3 mile) and ran 153.252 km/h (95.245 mph) from a standstill over the same Kilometer. Mean Green features a highly tuned Volvo D16 engine cranking out 1900 horsepower and an electric motor good for 200 horsepower and an amazing 885 lb-ft. of torque to bump the combined power total to nearly 5,000 lb-ft.
The speed record attempts were sanctioned by the United States Auto Club, an extension of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motoring’s international governing body. The new world records are subject to FIA recognition, which will occur in about 30 to 60 days. Hit the jump to see video of the record-breaking runs!More »
Team Bullrun has done it again and has taken home another victory in the Britcar series! Race #2 of the Britcar Endurance Championship took place at Donington Park Raceway on Sunday, April 22nd, and David Green, Martin Byford and Richard Adams came home with another class win! Team Bullrun planned the race perfectly, and overtook the class leader with only 13 minutes left on the clock. A well-timed pitstop and a change of race strategy during a late-race rainfall changed the outcome of the race.More »
Don't be glum, Ford. Your electric Focus will sell. Hell, I'd buy one myself in an instant if I had an extra $39K lying around. Ever since driving a pre-production prototype back in 2010, I've had a special heart full of love for the Focus EV. Back then, it struck me as just a way more convincing stab at the whole electric-car thing than either the Leaf, the Volt, or the jokey Mitsubishi MiEV, all of which I've since become acquainted with. The Focus had more snap to the acceleration, a somewhat more realistic battery range, and just seemed more car than giant iPhone: more like what a saleable EV should be. (Also, I see the electric Focus as the evolutionary descendant of my Escorts, which may be part of why I have a soft spot for it). Things may have changed some with the production version—I wouldn't know, I haven't driven one yet. And Ford CEO Alan Mulally is predicting that fewer than 5,000 units will sell in the first year of production—less than half of the Leaf's first-year sales figure. And in a sense, he may be right: Ford was always a Johnny-come-lately to the EV game, and the electric tide may have already crested, leaving Ford to pick up what's left now that the early adopters are smugly ensconced in their Volts and their Leaves. On the other hand, they could be looking at electric vehicles, as they well should be, as a "long-term strategy," in which case starting with small sales shouldn't be that big a deal. But whatever the reasoning, I really hope they're not planning to pull one of these self-fulfilling prophecies like automakers are known for contriving around new technologies they have no financial interest in adopting. You know: haphazard R&D process, + endlessly deferred production schedule + weak marketing campaign = flat sales and then "Yep, there, see? The public will never be interested in buying these things." I hate it when they do that. Come on, Ford, give it a real shot before you go getting all depressed! Full story at Autoblog.
A recent study shows that roughly 2/3rds of hybrid owners don't want another one--that when they return to the showrooms to buy a new car, it isn't a hybrid. However, having a hybrid in the lineup helps brands attract and maintain new customers, so don't expect them to go away anytime soon. Currently, hybrids account for just 2.4% of total sales, down from a peak of 2.9% in 2008. Via Automotive News
The Fisker Karma has been a long time in coming. It’s been plagued with financial issues, development problems and last but not least, poor reviews. However all of these things are bound to happened when you introduce a brand new product to the market which is exactly the case with the Fisker. Think of the Karma as a REALLY REALLY nice Chevrolet Volt, as what I mean to say is that both cars seat four adults, both are electric with a range extending generator and both were big gambles. In the Volt’s case though, there was the backing of a major automotive manufacturer, whereas the Fisker, well, really didn’t have that security. Either way though it’s great first attempt at creating a high-end electric car for the high-brow family. Click through to hear what Consumer Reports has to say about it and enjoy.More »
I understand the reasoning behind taxing goods and consumables to go something like this: if you choose to purchase x, you're taxed in proportion to the amount of x that you purchase. If you don't feel like paying the tax, that's easy: don't buy x. Not so for EV owners under a proposed Washington State fee. The state would like to tax owners of all-electric vehicles $100 a year as a way of recovering the gas taxes they'll no longer be collecting off those citizens because, you know, their cars don't run on gas. Wait, are we crazy? Isn't that like charging someone who's quit smoking a yearly fee to make up for all the cigarette-tax revenue that they'll no longer be generating? GM has cried foul, even though their Volt would be exempt from the fee because it carries an on-board gas-powered motor. But seriously. Maybe they should get the cyclists to chip in for something for a change instead, seeing as most of our infrastructure development lately has gone into snarling up perfectly good roads to install fancy bike lanes. Via Autoblog.
Ron Adner, professor of strategy at Dartmouth University, thinks the "current approach to the electric car is doomed to fail in the mass market." He believes that resale value and the electric grid present major hurdles. I definitely agree about the resale value issue. It's hard to know what an electric car will be worth in five years. Probably about as much as an old cell phone. For that reason, I'd only consider leasing one. And the grid is definitely goiing to be a big issue going forward, especially if the electric car becomes more widely adopted. Read the full story and watch the interview with Adner at Yahoo News.